man Sail’s flagship boat Musandam-Oman Sail hurtled across the finish line in Marseilles today to celebrate their first win of an offshore leg in the MOD70 European Tour and lift them to third overall in the rankings.After battling with light winds from the start of the leg in Cascais on Thursday, the final few hours saw an altogether different struggle as Sidney Gavignet’s triumphant Omani and European crew encountered 35 knot winds which almost caused them to capsize just ten minutes from the finish.“We were going very fast – sometimes too fast,” said an emotional Gavignet.
“It was a bit scary going at those speeds in the black night. We almost capsized in the bay. The wind was dropping but we were caught by a 40 knot gust. The boat reared up – it was so sudden.”
This jolt came on top of discovering as they approached the finish that another 40 mile upwind stage had been added to the 1030 nm course making it an action-packed closing stage to a dramatic leg.
They completed the course from Cascais to Marseilles in 3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 seconds, crossing the line two hours and 23 minutes ahead of second placed Steve Ravussin’s Race for Water and two hours and 45 minutes ahead of sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia.
The result was a great testament to the developing skills of the Musandam-Oman Sail crew, Gavignet said, making special mention of Omani helmsman and trimmer Fahad Al Hasni, Khamis Al Anbouri also from Oman and navigator Jeff Cuzon from France.
“Fahad is a great example of what we are trying to do at Oman Sail. He has grabbed the opportunity of being part of Oman Sail and is running with it.
“He still has a lot to learn but he is becoming a serious offshore sailor, both technically and in terms of his energy. He is very positive and contributes to the team, which for me is almost more important than whether they are good or bad sailors.
“Being part of Oman Sail is a platform for doing something great and he is really making the most of his opportunity.
“We are all making progress especially Jeff Cuzon who has been doing a great job in the nav station. He understands better and better what these boats can do and what is and isn’t dangerous from a navigation point of view.
“Khamis came in and replaced Mohsin Al Busaidi for this leg but Mohsin took it the right way and although Khamis was seasick, his energy was impressive. I think he may have been our lucky charm.”
“I am so happy for the team – very proud of them and of our flag,” added Al Hasni.
“I always felt we could win because each time we finished a leg, we discovered something new and added to our experience. In this leg, we discovered we were very fast in the light winds, which has given us a lot of confidence.
“We have beaten some of the best sailors in the world by a long distance and that makes us proud,” said a tired Al Hasni who was planning on a big 24 hour sleep, waking up only when he needed to eat.
For Khamis al Anbouri, it was his first experience of sailing offshore after a career spent mainly racing inshore, during which time, he has posted a win against MOD70 European Tour rival Yann Guichard in the Extreme 40s
“It was my first offshore race and winning the stage was amazing. It shows we are competitive. I was seasick just for an hour but I was able to keep on working because I was so happy to be on board for the leg.
“I love to compete and win especially against these sailors because they are the best. I have now beaten Yann Guichard twice – one in the Extreme 40s and now this.
“It would be nice one day to see an Omani sailor skippering one of these boats and I shall be working very hard towards that aim.”
In Cascais last week, Michel Desjoyeaux, one of most admired and respected offshore sailors in the world commended the Musandam-Oman Sail crew on their progress in the European Tour.
“Sidney (Gavignet) and Oman Sail has improved fast as a team,” he said.
“It’s a very hard job to win because the delivery is very high on all the boats, and because the boats are one design it is difficult to be first.
“My advice for the young Omanis back home is that they have the opportunity today for some of them to sail on the MOD70 but it is the highest they can achieve at the moment. They have to consider that it is a real chance for them but to learn sailing they must sail as much as possible.
“They must sail every kind of boat they can, every race they can and don’t hesitate to take the chance to change boats and sail all kinds of boat, small boats, big boats, boats with full crew, short crew, offshore, inshore to get more experience.”
The Musandam-Oman Sail team will now get some rest ahead of the Marseille City Race which starts on Friday.
Leg 4 Cascais to Marseille
1. Musandam Oman Sail finish time: 07h 11m 34s (3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 2 seconds)
2. Race for Water: 2h 23m 7s from winner
3. FONCIA: 2h 45m 32s from winner
28/09: Marseille City Race
29/09: Marseille City Race
30/09: Start of Leg 5 Marseille – Genoa
|Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with his international crew became the third different team to win City Race series in successive stops of the MOD70 European Tour when they triumphed in the sixth race in Cascais, Portugal.|
|Musandam-Oman Sail won three of the six races sailed over three days, almost all in light breeze, which proved somewhat contrary to Cascais reputation for reliable strong winds. Smarting after losing second place to FONCIA in the final half mile to the finish of the offshore stage from Dun Laoghaire at dawn in very light airs early on Wednesday morning, Gavignet and his crew realised then they had a small deficit in speed to Michel Desjoyeaux’s crew. They made changes accordingly and, aligned to steady starting and some strong tactics from Jean Francois Cuzon, have remained very consistent, complementing their three wins with two thirds and a fifth to win ahead of Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing.
Musandam-Oman Sail collect 12 precious points in the chase for the MOD70 European Tour while second place for Spindrift racing ensures they increase their overall lead in the general classification.
Spindrift racing and FONCIA chose to stay closer to the Cascais shore where they found some localised acceleration of the wind and were able to round the top mark in first and second.
With the breeze fading and developing big holes, although the MOD70′s moved with impressive efficiency in the light winds, Race Direction chose to halt the race after one round of the triangle course. This time the triangle course was upwind-downwind as opposed to the downwind-upwind format of yesterday and Friday.
Three boats were called over the start line early, FONCIA, Race for Water and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
Musandam-Oman Sail emerged from with the lead and were able to stay ahead around the two lap course.
Race for Water restarted smartly and made a smart good recovery at the top end of the first windward leg. In the end they were able to push Musandam-Oman Sail hard at the finish line.
Results after six City Races
MOD70 European Tour Standings. After two offshore stages and three City Race series.
Sidney Gavignet, FRA skipper Musandam-Oman Sail (OMA): “ We are happy, we won three races from six which is pretty good. It is great, just great. What is good is that we just work on making progress and we did not need to make big progress, but to just keeping making progress step by step all the time wherever you start from and we started pretty low. We lost crew on the first race in Kiel. We broke the daggerboard in Dublin, so we were starting from quite low, and had some problems. But we kept working. We kept the positive spirit and little by little we get more cards to play the game with. What we learned here, if we had those two cards on the way in, we would have been second from Dublin. One is easy we could not pass the battens across in the light winds and the other is speed with the gennaker. So for sure we are making progress and growing in confidence and that affects the others who lose in confidence, we need to keep progressing.
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|Yann Guichard and his crew of five crossed the finish line on Thursday July 12 at 12hrs 08m 37s UTC (14hrs 08m 37s) to take overall victory in the inaugural KRYS OCEAN RACE transatlantic race in an elapsed time four days 21 hours 08 minutes 37s, an average of 25.03 kts on this 2950 miles race course.|
|In this first ocean race for the new MOD70 one design multihull class, Spindrift racing finished about an hour and a half ahead of Sébastien Josse’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and FONCIA, who were about a quarter of an hour behind second, after a great race across the Atlantic from New York to Brest in winds which is rarely dropped below twenty knots …This is the first great ocean racing victory for Yann Guichard.
At 38, this former Olympic Tornado catamaran sailor, who finished fourth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, has amassed considerable multihull experience offshore with Marc Guillemot, Bruno Peyron and Franck Cammas, racing solo across the Atlantic in 2010, but also on the Swiss lakes in the D35 and M-2 multihulls.
He has also raced inshore as helm in the America’s Cup World Series and the Extreme 40 series.
Launched in January this year, Spindrift racing is MOD70 hull number 5, and has been taken on by his crew, which includes Pascal Bidégorry, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, Jacques Guichard, Leo Lucet and Kevin Escoffier.
Bidégorry, Escoffier and Le Vaillant are among those who set the existing outright Atlantic record in 2009.
Spindrift racing sailed an actual 3284 miles on the water at an average of 28.04 knots.
|For the leaders of the KRYS OCEAN RACE the frontal system that they have ridden since Saturday night continues to prove the gift, which keeps on giving.|
|Before leaving New York, initial predictions suggested that the five MOD70’s would benefit for at least three to four days, but as the leaders now contemplate negotiating the north east side of the Azores high pressure system, it now seems likely they will have every chance of curving progressively towards Ireland, the Scillies gate and then to the finish line in Brest with hardly any reduction in speed.Sébastien Col, tactician and helm from FONCIA, even suggested today that the most favourable weather files had them reaching the finish with no gybes.With the S-SW’ly winds still hitting over 30kts this afternoon, their fourth since leaving Manhattan, the speeds of the three leading MOD70’s continue to be impressive. Spindrift racing have clocked up another day of more than 700 miles on the mid afternoon rankings, holding their average speed just under 30kts.So far Spindrift racing’s remarkable 711.9 miles sailed over 24 hours, set Monday, is the highest run yet.Yann Guichard and his team, which has lead since Sunday night, still managed to increase their margin on the chasing duo today. With around 1300 miles to sail to the finish, Spindrift racing was holding an advance of 50 miles this afternoon ahead of Seb Josse and crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with FONCIA 13 miles behind them in third.Foncia’s Sébastien Col told the live radio call today that their best option should present itself as they pass over the Azores high pressure system. Depending on its evolution as the more southerly boat of the leading trio, FONCIA may find a better, reaching angle sooner whilst their two opponents may find themselves slowed, on a more downwind, open angle.
But patience has, to some extent, been part of the FONCIA strategy, Col acknowledging on today’s radio vacation with KRYS OCEAN RACE HQ in Brest, that both Spindrift racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have continued with better wind strength and angle.
Col said: “ We are slightly slower than them and just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then try to catch places after.”
The mood remains stoic, mostly upbeat on fourth placed Musandam-Oman Sail. They have adapted well to their compromised predicament, managing to replace their damaged port foil with the starboard one, a delicate manoeuvre in 25-30kts of wind which required all the strength of three crew plus one helping the lift on a halyard. Though they had tried to sail without a foil, they had found the boat liable to nosediving. But in their new configuration they were making a decent 26 knots average this afternoon, but were some 122 miles behind FONCIA.
The leading boats are expected Friday, spearing right into the first day of the massive Tonneres de Brest maritime festival.
The 20th anniversary international gathering of mariners and craft of all shapes and sizes is expected to attract somewhere around 800,000 visitors to Brest’s seven kilometres of waterfront festivities and runs 13th to 19th July.
Sébastien Col, FONCIA, tactician, trimmer, helm: “Today FONCIA is sailing just above Spindrift and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, our target is the waypoint to the north of the high pressure which we will reach in approximately 24 hours. We are sailing a little slower than Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Spindrift because we are a bit more south than them and have a little bit less wind and they have a better angle and so that means we are slightly slower than them so just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then will try to catch places after. We are targeting only one gybe to approach the Scilly Islands. One of the best routages we have actually shows that we have no gybes, and so that even suggests it will be very fast for the end of the race.”
Ryan Breymaier, No 1, Musandam-Oman Sail: “We are going well at the moment – pretty much full speed. When the foil failed, we had to take it out because there was a lot of turbulence and drag and the boat was very slow – about 22 knots – though when it came out completely, the bow dug in a lot so we had to reduce sail. We didn’t feel comfortable trying to change the foil from one side to the other during the night but now we have the foil from the starboard side on the port side, which makes things normal again. The guys are getting tired as it weighs 100kgs and takes three crew plus one on the halyard every time we change it over, but hopefully we will only have to do it twice more during the race.”
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Dee and Brian completed the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France to Costa Rica onboard Aviva. The first week of the race saw the fleet battle through some extreme weather conditions and subsequent damage to boats forced four Open 60’s, including fellow British sailor Alex Thomson, to retire from racing.
Dee and Brian had their fair share of problems but were able to replace a lost wind instrument in a becalmed period. Generator issues meant that both sailors had to hand steer for the majority of the time as they were without the pilot, however, a speedy pit stop in St Lucia for a generator part enabled them to get powered back up and stay in the race. Towards the final stages, the duo raced hard to finish in 8th position from an original fleet of fourteen IMOCA Open 60 yachts that started the transatlantic race 19 days ago. In the last few hours of the race Aviva experienced very light winds making for a frustrating and protracted finish into the port of Limon.
The Transat Jacques Vabre was the last of the races validated by IMOCA in the two year Open 60 season and Aviva’s result earned additional points for both Dee and Brian. Out of 33 skippers, Caffari was ranked 6th, in her first full IMOCA season, and Thompson 8th. The World Championship title was won by Marc Guillemot, skipper of Safran.
“To have finished 6th in the IMOCA rankings, alongside noted sailors like Michel Desjoyeaux and Marc Guillemot is an added bonus and makes me very proud of how much Aviva and I have achieved in the past two years.”
On arriving at the dock in Port Limon, Dee said:
“ The race was long and it was hard, in three different parts, the beginning and the stormy stuff, getting sorted out and then the finale in the Caribbean Sea. So it was very eventful, highs and lows. We have things to deal with and obviously a frustrating finish, but to be this close at the end of a race has been cool.
This is in a different league to my last Transat Jacques Vabre. Sailing with Brian has been great. He is cool and calm and you think: ‘ok this is fine and you get on with it.' So the intensity I have dealt with is much greater than I am used to. It was a much more enjoyable race than the Vendée Globe, and it was nice to be in among the people who were leading. The company I am keeping now is something I never even dreamed of. Now I want to carry on. I need to find the backing but I feel like I am growing at such a speed. This was a great race to do, you learn so much with the right person on board.”
Having now had chance to enjoy the creature comforts of dry land, like a shower, fresh food, a long sleep in a real bed and interaction with lots of people all at once, I have had chance to reflect on the race.
Having worked so hard and held such good positions during the race eighth place was disappointing at the time. The reality is that any of the four boats finishing with us could have finished in fifth and any order could have followed. We were in squall territory and it was a certain amount of luck for the final few miles. Even the conversations ashore with the other skippers and people involved in the race have all been talking about our huge gains at the end and also how fast we were at the start and during the big storm we all faced during the first week. This has off course made me feel better and I cannot deny I loved sailing Aviva again in a big race and it was great sailing with Brian. We had some problems to face and we did it all in a positive manner and had huge fun as well as the hard sailing together.
Now we are preparing the boat for the delivery home. Hannah Jenner and Katy Miller are busy helping with jobs on the boat to learn their way around as they will be joining James and Harry for the trip home. Let’s hope they will be home for Christmas. I know Aviva will look after them and I am confident that they will look after her well for me.
On arriving at the dock in Port Limon, Brian Thompson said:
“It was an interesting place to have the stealth play. There were light winds to the south on the more direct course, so people were deciding how far north to go, and we went a fairly direct course. It turned out there was a front which came through from Panama which gained us, we got through it early in the day and had clear skies for the rest of the day. Then we had nice sailing for the afternoon, maybe a little slower but we sailed less miles. But then we were next to W-Hotels and we thought it was Akena, but it was W-Hotels who had been 100 miles ahead. Then we were in constant squalls one after the other and were never becalmed until right near the end. They must have had the one squall which drove them all the way in.
It was a perfect, swashbuckling finale to bring the ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed transatlantic race towards its final conclusion. Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier played the starring roles some days ago, Guillemot the hero of the Vendée Globe winning the top prize, but the final full day of racing proved a cliffhanger.
After over 5,300 miles and nearly 20 days of racing, when all four protagonists, scrapping over 5th to 8th places emerged from the cover of stealth mode at 1000hrs GMT/UTC (0400hrs local) this morning, less than eight miles separated fifth placed Veolia Environnement (Roland Jourdain and Jean Luc Nélias) from seventh placed Aviva (Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson).
And Akéna Vérandas (Arnaud Boissieres and Vincent Riou) was a further 15.1 miles behind the British duo
Having held fifth place for five days – since they broke into the Caribbean – the Spanish duo on W-Hotels, were never going to give it away easily.
Passed for the second time in the final 12 hours by Veolia Environnement, when the French duo rocketed off into the rainy gloom of yet another squall, on the strength of a sail change the Spanish pair just could not make in the gusty 25 knots breeze, they felt that they were destined for sixth.
But their determination never wavered.
The next squall brought them back to rescue their fifth, arriving like a spectre from out of the murk at 17-18 knots to haunt Veolia for the third and final time, just half a mile from the finish.
It was perhaps appropriate that the surprised Spaniards – on their own voyage of discovery, racing an IMOCA Open 60 for the first time ever – cemented their success arriving Puerto Limon, in the wake of their legendary forebear Christopher Columbus who sailed to the New World in here in 1502.
Ribes and Pella finished four minutes and 16 second ahead of their French rivals, exhausted but pleased to have taken fifth, in between two of the most successful IMOCA Open 60 racing skippers, Michel Desjoyeaux and Jourdain.
They had only sailed together for a few days before embarking on this race, and learned as they came down the track. Standing smiling in the torrential rain on the dockside they admitted to many mistakes and ‘beginners errors’ but they can be justly proud of their result in this highest quality field.
The Spanish were delighted. But there was disappointment for Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson on Aviva. At one point they were, according to Ribes, 100 metres away from Aviva.
They waited for the British pair to tack and, in the end, chose to do their own thing, gaining 15 miles in to the finish.
The British pair slowed in a final light zone, losing out to Akéna Vérandas in the last stages to finish eighth, just 27 minutes behind the 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou and skipper Arnaud Boissieres.
Caffari and Thompson’s disappointment in losing out in the high stakes scuffle, which was largely carried out in torrential tropical rain and changeable winds, was obvious but Caffari reflected enthusiastically on how much she has improved since she competed in the last edition in 2007 as an IMOCA greenhorn.
All four boats finished within just over three and a half hours. 1876 was due to finish by around 1800hrs GMT and Sam Davies and Sidney Gavignet on Artemis later tonight.
Pepe Ribes, (ESP), W-Hotels:
“ The last 36 hours have been no sleep, no eating, nothing. We played the stealth card and so did everyone else at the same time. And when we played the stealth it was the first time that we saw a boat, with Veolia just crossing our bows, that was yesterday morning. Then since then we passed them once and then they passed us again, then we passed them again just half a mile from the finish line. I really don’t know what made the difference in the end. We went to the beach and then we saw Aviva, who were very close to us, only 50 metres away.
We went with Aviva to the beach and we waited for them to tack but they did not tack, and so we tacked and from there we were reaching really, really fast maybe 18-19 knots.
Then we saw a light and thought it was a cruising boat. We were sure Veolia were way ahead. In one of the squalls they managed to drop their spinnaker and put up their masthead genoa and go straight, so we had to bear away. So they left. And when we saw a green light we thought it was a cruising boat. I looked with the binos and told Alex and we could not believe.”
“ I think it is good result for us, very very good. We were not expecting such a good result at all. We did not know the level, and for me I thought between tenth and fourteenth and we finished fifth, so, fantastic. It is a good result for me, and I hope for Spain.”
“ I feel very, very tired. But we made many, many mistakes. At the beginning, not so much now. We made a lot of mistakes and lost a lot of miles. But we are going forwards.”
“ I think we were pushing the boat very, very hard and broke a lot of things. We were good together. We tried to share everything and learn about each other. He has a lot of strong points and I have strong points and it works well. He is more like an offshore sailor, more relaxed and I am more go, go, go. It is a good mix, I am always 100%. We pushed, I don’t care, I sail it like a Volvo boat, we keep pushing and I don’t care if the boat breaks.”
“But we made mistakes, it is double handed and it is new for us.”
Alex Pella (ESP) W-Hotels:
“ The boat is OK, but we broke a lot of small things, the spinnaker. We had problems with the pilots, sometimes they worked, sometimes they did not work. But we fived them with a spare compass, and they worked, and then two days later they did not. But the boat is nice and work towards the Barcelona World Race.
Pepe is a very good sailor. He has so much experience and pushes very hard, he has experience with the Volvo boats which helped, and I learned so much from sailing with Pepe.”
“ On the one hand he is a very methodical guy, very ordered but he wants to push all the time, to push hard.”
“ At the beginning of the race we had decided to go south, but then when we saw some going west, we said ok we try to catch this option but it was too late. In fact there was a time when we tried but we were too late. We went with the wrong option.
But we are here!”
“ Foncia and Akena went further south. We had a maximum of 50 knots in the third storm and big waves.”
“ I am really, really happy. We are hear to learn the boat. This is a training for the Barcelona World Race and here we are in Costa Rica, it is incredible….in between Foncia and Veolia. It is fantastic!”
Dee Caffari (GBR) Aviva:
“ The race was long and it was hard, in three different parts, the beginning and the stormy stuff, getting sorted out and then the final in the Caribbean Sea. So it was very eventful, highs and lows. We have things to deal with and obviously a frustrating finish, but to be this close at the end of a race has been cool.
This is in a different league to my last Transat Jacques Vabre. Sailing with Brian has been great. He is cool and calm and you think: ‘ok this is fine and you get on with it.’ So the intensity I have dealt with is much greater than I am used to. It was a much more enjoyable race than the Vendée Globe, and it was nice to be in among the people who were leading. The company I am keeping now is something I never even dreamed of..
Now I want to carry on. I need to find the backing but I feel like I am growing at such a speed. This was a great race to do, you learn so much with the right person on board.”
Brian Thompson (GBR) Aviva:
“It was an interesting place to have the stealth play. Ther were light winds to the south on the more direct course, so people were deciding how far north to go, and we went a fairly direct course. It turned out there was a front which came through from Panama which gained us, we got through it early in the day and had clear skies for the rest of the day. Then when had nice sailing for the afternoon, maybe a little slower but we sailed less miles. But then we were next to W-Hotels and we thought it was Akenas, but it was W-Hotels who had been 100 miles ahead. Then we were in constant squalls one after the other and were never becalmed until right near the end. They must have had the one squall which drove them all the way in.”
“Before, it was the English, now we have the Spanish! It was hard.! It was tough but fun, a great race for first place in this second group! It was intense with many challenges. We knew this course would be more varied in terms of the different weather conditions and that really was the case. We even had our small technical pit stop, we like them with Jean-Luc. That’s why I plan to make stages races. We would like to have played with the top of the fleet. The technical stop we could have done without. We did not think it would cost us. We were optimistic but saw time slipping.
Marco went very fast and I agree they went the right way, with the good options, but they went really, really fast.
Yesterday morning it was hell. We waited for the wind from the east and north and had southerly. We saw a boat behind and managed to escape. Yesterday evening we saw it again and gybed away. In a squall we tacked and put five miles on them. And then this morning we were sitting all but still and a racing car arrived, someone so quick we thought it was a motor boat.”
“But our boat is OK, it went well but on the other hand it is not a new boat. Veolia has gaps compared with the new boats. We still go well and make results because I know this Mobylette but it is nevertheless frustrating.”
Jean-Luc Nélias, FRA (Veolia Environnement):
“We passed W-Hotels in a squall, but they negotiated them better. When we cam out from stealth, we realized we had made five miles on them, and then this morning we took another squall and got it back. From a result point of view we are not that happy. We could have battled it out with boats such as Mike Golding but the others are faster. It is nevertheless frustrating because out mainsail mast track was broken. The first reef has been very useful. But we are glad we got here. We laughed a lot with Bilou. It was a good adventure.”
Breaking the finish line at 11:41:44hrs GMT Friday 27th November (05:41:44hrs local time, Costa Rica) after sailing for 18d 22hrs 11mins 44seconds at an 10.41knots average for the theoretical course (4730 miles) since leaving Le Havre on Sunday 8th November, Spain’s Pepe Ribes and Alex Pella on W-Hotels took fifth place in the IMOCA Open 60 class in the ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed Transatlantic race. Ribes and Pella sailed a distance of 5790 miles at an average of 12.75kts.
W-Hotels finish 3 days 2 hours 49 minutes 34 seconds behind the winner Safran.
Breaking the finish line at 11:46:00hrs GMT Friday 27th November (05:46:00hrs local time, Costa Rica) after sailing for 18d 22hrs 16mins 00 seconds at an 10.41 knots average for the theoretical course (4730 miles) since leaving Le Havre on Sunday 8th November, France’s Roland Jourdain and Jean Luc Nélias on Veolia Environnement took sixth place in the IMOCA Open 60 class in the ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed Transatlantic race. Jourdain and Nélias sailed a distance of 5734miles at an average of 12.52kts.
Veolia Environnement finish 3 days 2 hours 53 minutes and 50 seconds behind the winner Safran.
Breaking the finish line at 14:50:12hrs GMT Friday 27th November (08:50:12hrs local time, Costa Rica) after sailing for 19d 1h 20m 12s seconds at an 10.34 knots average for the theoretical course (4730 miles) since leaving Le Havre on Sunday 8th November, France’s Arnaud Boissières and Vincent Riou on Akena Veranda took seventh place in the IMOCA Open 60 class in the ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed Transatlantic race. Boissières and Riou sailed a distance of
5823miles at an average of 12.73kts.
Akéna Vérandas finished 3days 05hours 58min 02s seconds behind the winner Safran.
Breaking the finish line at 15:17:12hrs GMT Friday 27th November (09:17:12hrs local time, Costa Rica) after sailing for 19d 1h 46m 12s seconds at an 10.33 knots average for the theoretical course (4730 miles) since leaving Le Havre on Sunday 8th November, Great Britain’s Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson on Aviva took eighth place in the IMOCA Open 60 class in the ninth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre two handed Transatlantic race.
Caffari and Thompson sailed a distance of 5700 miles at 12,45 knots average .
Aviva finished 3d 06h 25min 02secs behind the winner Safran.
Too late to play cat and mouse….. it seems like Safran – the super light, quick IMOCA Open 60 boat the sponsors like to call the ‘jet fighter’ – will have devoured Groupe Bel by the time that the Transat Jacques Vabre leader appears from under the cover of ‘Stealth Mode’ to cross the finish line off Puerto Rica this evening to take a well deserved, hard earned victory.
Both of the leading pair, Safran and Groupe Bel, pressed the stealth button in unison together to complete their final miles away from the public tracking system, but at eight this morning Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier-Bénac were already champions elect, with a 90 miles lead and less than 200 miles of the gruelling 4730 miles course from Le Havre to the finish off Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
While Bel was last seen tracking slightly north in search of some last minute bonus miles as the trade winds fold, Safran was steadily rolling down towards the finish line, on the verge of a significant triumph. Second in the last edition of the race in 2007 and an heroic third on the last Vendée Globe when Guillemot brought the wounded Safran the final 1000 miles with no keel, Safran has lead this race since Thursday 12th, before battling through the storm of Friday 13th.
Guillemot was predicting a slightly ‘sluggish’ finish in light winds, but could not see any obvious reason why their long time rivals Kito de Pavant and Francois Gabart on Groupe Bel should close that significant gap.
“We still have a few more gybes to go and the final 50 miles look like being rather sluggish, but the lead we currently have allows us to remain composed. The lead over Groupe Bel could be cut, but we’re certainly not going to give anything away now.” Guillemot told his team today, happy with the routing they have taken since leaving the English Channel 14 days ago,
“We know that we have left a smooth trail in our wake. As not everything can be done by the two of us together, on the weather it was Charles, who did most of the work picking up and analysing the data. Then, we took decisions together. We always agreed about them.”
And they have always pushed extremely hard:
“With one or two exceptions, we always sailed with the maximum amount of sail. That requires a lot of energy. It really drained our reserves to carry out these manoeuvres and there were many of them. If we do manage to win, it will certainly feel good, as we really gave it our all throughout this race.”
Built-in reliability has been one of the keys to the two leaders successes this race After being hobbled by gear problems, not least a damaged main sail mast track in the Vendee Globe, Guillemot reports that their only damage is to their big spinnaker and slight mainsail damage.
The battle for line honours, between Crepes Whaou! – the Multi50 – and Safran is in the balance. While Franck-Yves Escoffier was relishing the chance to beat the monohulls home, the three times winner of the Route du Rhum and twice winner of his class in this race, is keen to break the finish tape first.
Mike Golding’s power problems have continued and the British skipper and his Spanish co-skipper Javier Sanso have been unable to start their engine for the last 48 hours and so are running with next to no electrical power. Mike Golding Yacht Racing had acceded a few miles to fourth placed Foncia but still has over just under 200 miles in hand over the double Vendée Globe winner with 412 miles to go to the finish. Foncia has been consistently quicker, while Golding’s avowed intent recently was simply to get across the finish with his boat and the podium finish intact.
Spanish fortunes are both climbing and declining. Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes on W-Hotels are positively buoyant with their speed on the Farr design, making miles all the time on Veolia Envirinnement and Aviva. Adding more sail area, to the main and their spinnakers, is paying a regular dividend as is their hard driving style. Meantime 1876 was just emerging back into the trade winds again but has dropped to ninth
Franck-Yves Escoffier (FRA) Crepes Whaou:
“Yes we are still hoping to get in before the IMOCA’s, even if our chances are reduced a little, we are little quicker on a straight course, but at night we tend to take the foot off the accelerator. But we are always truthful that our aim, that is for sure. When it happens, whoever is first – us or the IMOCA’s – there will not be very much in it. We think we will arrive during the night (Costa Rica time) But a little mouse told us there will not be much wind when we are arriving so nothing is for sure. We have fed flying fish with Whaou Crepes, they seem to like them because they keep coming back to the boat.
When we get there I will be congratulating the Crepes Whaou designers, saying to Vincent, to Erwan, Kévin and the others, that we have been on a boat which is great. It is good and looks good, which is good because I wanted a boat which was faster and more powerful, and I think that goal has been met.”
Marc Guillemot (FRA) Safran:
“All is good on Safran. We decided to go in stealth mode. We thought about it while passing through the West Indies, then thought about it yesterday but finally we went for it today. I understand it can be frustrating for those on shore, but it adds a bit of spice. But it’s a card to be played and it would be stupid not to use it before the end. There was a difference of 90 miles and with 250 miles to go, I don’t think we needed it or it will help in any way, there no great gains to be made. I don’t think we need to worry unduly about big surprises, unless Kito and Francois expect a big surprise. For the moment we have not really looked too closely at the weather forecasts to the finish, we are happy to be just racing in and to trim the sails. We kind of saw this time coming a couple of days ago. And we don’t have to do too much to push the boat. We have not really thought about breaking the finish line. Over this race focus has been 100% on the sporting result, there have been no side adventures, since the start gun the focus has just been on getting to the finish. These boats are very demanding, they require a lot of hard work to make them go. The physical effort has been great and we are tired of all the manoeuvres. If Crepes Whaou! get in first, so be it, it won’t bother me. And it would be good for Franck-Yves and Erwan but what interests us is in getting in before Groupe Bel and the others. They are a different class and did a different course.”
Yves Parlier (FRA) 1876:
“We have finally reached the trade winds and now have a much better speed, but we have been through some areas of terrible calms for the last 24 hours. We have started to have really hot conditions; there is a lot of light but not a cloud in sight. Yesterday it was 35º inside the boat, and now it is 32 with no shade at all. We have water so there is no worry of being dehydrated. However for the connections and the screens the pilots are broken, and so right now I am at the chart table and trying to drive at the same time with the only pilot that is working still. I am lying down at the bottom of the boat, head up looking at then gennaker through one window and when I want to correct the pilot I have to move, but at least I am in the shade! Pachi has just had a short rest as he has spent a lot of time taking the pilots apart and trying to repair them.”
“We are not too surprised that we were overtaken as until just a while ago we were only making two knots. But the road is still long and we hope not to lose any more positions, and even try and win something!”
Pepe Ribes (ESP) W-Hotels:
“Things are going extremely well. It is downwind in the Caribbean Sea, spinnaker, shorts and beautiful sailing here today. We are a bit surprised by our downwind speed, the last five or six days. In the Istanbul Race we were able to keep up with some of the boat here but now we faster than them, so the changes we have made are paying off.
We have a new main, much bigger, 17 sq m, and we have changed to downwind Quantum Sails, and so little by little we are getting better.”
“We are pushing very hard, the others will be doing the same. But it is hard, 12 hours every day on deck, the secret to be fast is not to use the auto-pilot, to steer as much as possible, you have to steer.”
“I think we are OK, a long way to go. We are maybe 50 miles to leeward of Veolia and maybe 120 miles to leeward of Aviva and it is a downwind race. We are sailing fast and in a good position.”
“ We share everything. Normally Alex pulls the grib files when he is off watch, but at the moment I am doing the weather. And we are sharing everything, we share the helm and just keep changing. We have little problems with the batteries and so on, but I hope we will be able to sort it out and have no more problems.”
In between the simple routine of just keeping their boats at maximum speed in the right direction, and picking their way as best they can, there is a certain quiet satisfaction underpinning the efforts of the top three duos in the IMOCA Open 60 fleet as these Transat Jacques Vabre leaders set themselves up to break into the Caribbean.
That is not to say that any of them have already accepted their position now will be the same when they cross the finish line off Costa Rica’s Puerto Limon, but with the gap between leader Safran and second placed Groupe Bel grown by 20 miles to 81 miles early this morning, and the margin between Bel and Mike Golding Yacht Racing, in turn 82 miles, then each feels they have breathing space which they perhaps did not expect this morning.
Instead of the expected initial compression, in fact Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier slipped away another 20 miles overnight on Safran, a gain which surprised Guillemot’s co-skipper enough to wonder this morning if their pursuers had a technical problem.
But in fact Safran has just had more a little more wind.
Satisfaction, such as it is, aboard Mike Golding Yacht Racing comes from being back in something closer to full racing shape after British skipper Golding spent much of yesterday night dealing with an electrical charging issue which firstly meant they could not start the engine, which then developed so they had a complete power failure.
But for his hard day’s night and recuperation yesterday Golding has remedied their problems and was pleased to be back in a more competitive mode early this morning.
Winds for the leaders are still very up and down, variable in direction. The leading trio have anything between seven and 12 knots this morning and winds will drop more at times as they approach the arc of West Indies islands
But the gap back to Michel Desjoyeaux and Jérémie Beyou has also opened another 20 miles to 290 miles between Mike Golding Yacht Racing and Desjoyeaux’s Foncia. Golding said his preference this morning would be to have been a little more south, but given his problems yesterday that has not been possible.
Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson creep closer to fifth all the time, this morning getting to less than 17 miles of Veolia Environnement their slightly more southerly position has been beneficial to the British Aviva duo, but both were slowed to less than ten knots this morning.
Battle continues in the middle order of the Transat Jacques Vabre
After successfully regaining sixth place yesterday and battling hard to maintain their position overnight, Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson onboard Aviva have narrowly lost out to 1876 in this morning’s polling.
The three boats currently in the middle of the fleet – 1876, Veolia Environnement and Aviva – are all positioned within 15 miles of each other and with over 2000 miles of the route to Costa Rica remaining, the battle for fifth to seventh place is set to continue.
The 10h00 race ranking positioned Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson, onboard Aviva, in seventh place, 575 miles behind race leader Safran.
“We have just spent darkness coasting along in a dying breeze under a canopy of bright stars. Flat water and warm temperatures have made it an uneventful but also a wonderful night’s sailing.
As predicted we will be fighting light airs with those around us. If we can keep working hard and keep at the front of this little group then we will reach the stronger breeze about 36 hours quicker. It is amazing getting a grib file now for weather information and realising how far we have come because we are also getting the Caribbean weather too.
To play tribute to this particularly tropical theme we also celebrated shower day onboard Aviva. So now she and her dynamic duo smell of roses as you would expect.”
Franco-Spanish duo Yves Parlier and Pachi Rivero are on good form this morning, making west at good speed in good breeze. On the quickest boat in the fleet just now, 1876 Rivero remarked that they will make their move south later today, but just 40 miles of DTF (distance to finish) separates fifth from eighth.
Mike Golding (GBR) Mike Golding Yacht Racing: “We had a problem, a big problem. As the batteries got low the engine would not start, and so the engine start batteries had not been getting trickle charge and so the engine would not start. That created an earthing problem on the engine as well, and so with no engine…no lights, nothing at all. It was pretty dodgy for a while. The switchboard 12v charger has blown, we had a spare but it has blown as well, so what I had to do was lift one of the main batteries out of the bank and use it to start the engine, so that took up most of yesterday night and the boat was a complete tip after that. So yesterday was spent getting tidied and getting the boat moving again, so so far tonight has been relatively quiet. We had no electronics, no navigation, no electronics, and it was pitch dark and so trying to see the wheel compass is hopeless. So we have ended up where we are. I am not especially pleased…we are where we are, we should be further forwards, we should be further south, but we are where we are.
I think there may still be some options and opportunities, but meantime we do need to make sure we get out of this light stuff. We probably haven’t done the job we wanted to to get out of it, we are doing 10 knots just now and probably have eight knots of breeze.”
Charles Caudrelier Bénac (FRA) Safran: “ It is going very well. We are trying in a way to understand what is going on because we expected less wind but that is not so. There must be a reason why we have gained so many miles on Groupe Bel during the night, maybe they have some technical problems?
We had a good night, between 10 and 15 knots, rolling along, and it makes good speed. We did two or three watches of three hours each and made no sail changes so it did not go too badly, and there are no clouds or squalls. But on the other hand the trade winds are broken down, and if there are no clouds during the day it will be hard because there will be no wind.
We are 1500 miles from the finish and it is just great. We can still break things if there are stronger trade winds, and there will be many manoeuvres before we get there.”
“The passage through the West Indies arc? Well it can make a big difference and we have already chosen, but we are not telling anything……”